Another tournament, another successful showing for the No. 8 ranked Texas men’s golf team. The trip to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the Jack Nicklaus Invitational at Scioto Country Club reaped them a third-place finish in the final team standings. The seeds of such labors were sewn in the last two rounds of the tournament, where the Longhorns scored the best collective score for those 36 holes out of the entire field with an 8-over par.
A strong finish like that was just what the Longhorns needed, as they struggled out of the gate in the first of their three rounds.
“We got off to a poor start,” said Texas golf head coach John Fields. “I’m really pleased that our guys came back the way they did the final two rounds, with the low score over the final 36 holes.”
The surge to finish near the top of the standings — Texas was only one shot behind the runner-up, Illinois — was spearheaded by the familiar names of senior Bobby Hudson and junior Dylan Frittelli. Each finished in the top 10 individually, with Hudson tying for eighth place at 7-over after struggling a bit on the first nine holes. Frittelli, who notched his first top-10 finish of the young season, earned 10th place with an 8-over.
“Bobby came back today with a 31 on the final nine, which was certainly extremely helpful in getting us to a third-place finish,” said Fields. “He just did not let down, and I did not expect he would. The same is true for Dylan, who played extremely well today.”
With the usually sensational sophomore Cody Gribble not playing up to his standards, Fields was glad to see sophomore Julio Vegas step up. In just his second college start, Vegas tied for 11th place with his score of 11-over.
“Julio had a good summer and he has used that momentum to come in and help us this fall, and that has been great,” said Fields. “We needed him to do that.”
The Longhorns leave the Midwest with a Texas-sized chip on their shoulders. They finished with their best team ranking of the season, but would surely like a mulligan for their admittedly poor first round of the tournament. After all, Texas finished only seven shots shy of first-place team Oklahoma State. Fields believes that it’s the tournaments like these that will shape his team into the championship-caliber squad he expects them to become.
“We know we must get significantly better,” he said. “Every player on our team is challenging themselves to do that. The only way to do that is to challenge ourselves with this great schedule with events at great courses. Playing here was a great experience for our guys.”